Tag Archives: blemish

Tools that make the difference

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There are four tools I need and love using on daily basis. One is an essential, second  is great to have and the last two are  something I can obviously live without (it’s neither bread nor water) but I really really really don’t want to if I can help it.

Sephora pink tweezers are the essential tool. I have many shapes yet this slanted version is the one I reach for the most often. I have two of them, one in the stand with my brushes and the other one in the bathroom. It’s made of metal and provides  a good grip. There is nothing to really rave about but it’s a very dependable instrument.

The second tool that makes the difference is the famous MAC Stippling brush. I received it many years ago through a make-up gift exchange from a very generous fellow make-up junkie. This was 5-6 years ago and the brush is still like new. I was impressed that there was no shedding, it’s easily washed and dries up quickly, regaining it original shape again. There has been so much written about this brush that I will be brief. What I love about this brush is how versatile it is. You can use it with powder or liquid products. You can use it for stippling mineral powder into your face, for applying any foundation formula, for blush, bronzer or highlighter … I particularly like it for bronzers or blushes that are on the pigmented side and I need to be careful with them. I have also used if for applying mousse foundations and that works great as well.

MAC Stippling brush $34

Beauty blender (or the pink egg) was “The thing” a few years ago, everyone was raving about it and I couldn’t understand how some kind of a sponge that is just prettier than the others can add anything performance-wise to my make-up routine. I have tried many sponges, they usually sucked up a looooot of foundation and then the application wasn’t the flawless either. So how could this porous oddly shaped egg work? Well, I don’t actually know how..I just know that if I had to keep just ONE tool and throw all my brushes away and could keep the egg I would do just that. Because this little pink gem is a perfection in disguise. If I remember correctly I wasn’t in love at first sight. It worked well. No streaky application, it didn’t suck all my foundation in … but at the same time it wasn’t  a major wow factor either. That was because I had a wonderful foundation. I realized the difference the egg makes after I got a terrible one. One that sits on top of your pores making them actually bigger (if that’s possible) than they are. One that is splotchy, difficult to blend, one that is too powdery or too oily… name a foundation flaw and this blender can fix it. Well, apart from a wrong shade or longevity obviously.

The way you use it is also different. You dont stipple or even smear your foundation with it, you bounce it in a small and quick motions working in steps all over your face. I also prefer to use it when the egg is slightly damp but it’s not necessary.  With my last foundation, MAC Matchmaster, the MA used the stippling brush and while I liked the result well enough to buy it, I immediately knew I can make it work even better with the egg. Some mattifying foundations can settle in my pores thus making them more visible. This doesn’t happen with the egg. I also use it for cream blush, powder bronzer, corrector and mineral powder. I don’t understand how this egg is in its material and texture so much different from the other sponges but it’s simply wonderful. My one is pretty used but it’s as old as the MAC brush and should be replaced soon.

Beauty Blender $20

The last thing is Shiseido cleansing facial brush that I got from my then-boyfriend (now husband) almost 11 years ago! There used to be a large Shiseido boutique here in Prague and I needed a moisturizer. As you can imagine, I walked out from there with three items in my bag and wondering why the heck did I allow the SA lady to convince me to buy an super overpriced brush for cleaning my face. The brush was the most expensive item costing at that time about $60!! Crazy! Well, forward those 11 years and not only I still have it but I finally use it twice a day and see fantastic results.

I still suffer with,what I feel like is, millions of blackheads and occasional break-outs mostly along my jaw line. I don’t know why my jaw line and the sides of my cheeks were so congested. But I have lately changed two things and my skin is 80% better. I actually never had such a good skin. First thing I changed is that I stop drinking a copious amounts of milk with my coffee and drink soya milk instead. Some suggest that too much dairy products causes acne alongside the jawline and while I never gave too much credit to these rumors I was (for other reasons as well) willing to finally give up my milk. The other one is that I started using the brush instead of my regular scrub. The brush has super soft white bristles and  five rubber-like pink massaging “thingies” (I really don’t know how to call them). I add a dollop of my current facial cleanser onto the damp brush and in circular motions I go all over my face concentrating on the problematic areas. My skin is very soft, my pores are the smallest the have ever been and  there are no bumps and visible blackheads along my jawline and therefore no infected bits either. I’m so happy.

Shiseido brush: $25

These were my fave tools, what are yours?

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A few bits & pieces

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This is no major haul rather “replacing essentials and getting a few perk-me-ups” kind of thing. Obviously I also belong into that category of women who buy themselves something small (or big) when they need a little pick me up, when in need of consolation, as a reward or a treat, also shopping can be a good way how not to kill your partner … actually, it’s rather hard to think of a situation when shopping is not an appropriate answer to any situation life throws at us (well, being completely broke or heading that way would probably qualify – which is not that difficult with above mentioned life philosophy). So I am really trying to not to spend much…which I manage…per shopping…but in the end I am worried I could have gotten one thing from my dream shopping list instead of the myriads of little bits I get in the meantime. One day I will get the hang of it…one can only hope ;).

Vichy Normaderm Deeply purifying gel

This was actually given to me from a friend. I never liked these anti-blemish gels as they always dried my skin and it felt like 3 sizes smaller afterwards. This one really surprised me, no itching, no drying and my problematic spots actually do look better. Smells nice too.

Garnier PureActiv 24 moisturizing gel

I don’t know how this is called on UK/US market, hope the picture helps. I needed something for my congested area along my jaw line and cheeks and while it is your typical alcohol based gel it doesn’t irritate my skin in the least. If it really works I will know after a few weeks.

Manufaktura: Grapefruit & Verbena shower gel and shampoo + hand cream

I got this today so I cannot say anything more than: this smells gorgeous! I was looking for some kind of “wake-me-up-in-the-morning” shower gel and this super fresh yet slightly sweet scent is perfect. And I really like the design. The scent of the hand cream reminds of Crabtree & Evelyn Citron hand cream. The Manufaktura scent is bit sharper and not as mellow as C&E but if you cannot splurge on C&E definitely try this one. It’s also slightly less nourishing but the difference is so small it doesn’t warrant the price difference in my opinion.

Dove Silk & Sleek shampoo & “onlygodknowswhat”

I needed a shampoo after my disaster with Matrix Total Results Moisture shampoo. Probably THE worst shampoo I ever had. I will rant about that one later. But I didn’t want to spend the money on Joico even though I knew I should. I got these in a drugstore as some people with dry frizzy hair seemed to like it. I tried it only once  and so far I do like it. I’m surprised. Though my problem is that at the beginning I like everything… well, apart from that Matrix. I’ll keep you posted.

Also you may wonder what   “onlygodknowswhat” actually is. Well, the clever heads at Unilever got a splendid idea of putting together a conditioner and a mask. Why, is beyond me. It’s not like a conditioner and a mask are all that different in the first place. Or am I missing something here? I used it as a conditioner and my hair felt very soft and smooth. The scent of both of these products is that very typical Dove scent: floral clean. I happen to like it a lot though for the perfume savvy gals  this may feel too ordinary.

Dove Purely pampering shower cream Almonds and hibiscus

Another “motivation” to get me out of bed in the morning since it smells nice. I like Dove shower creams in general. I wish they made a body lotion or cream in the Purely pampering scents as well.

Gabriella Salvete Enamel in 156 and 157

You can read about no.156 here and see pictures of 157 here. I haven’t tried no.157 hoping it will have all the great qualities of 156 as well.

O.P.I  Gouda gouda two shoes & Red lights ahead…where?

I’m in love with the Holland collection and I’m already plotting to buy at least three more colors from it. Gouda gouda two shoes is a color I would not usually go for. But…after seeing some pictures (like this one) and realizing there is the tiniest bronze-y  pink shimmer in it I caved in. And I’m so glad I did. This is my new go-to-color when I want something subtle, elegant but not boring.

On the other hand, Red lights ahead…where? falls exactly and perfectly into my favourite nail polish color category. I love cremes and brights and this is both, bright coral red creme. It’s perfect for me.

I have to admit I had some issues with the application. I haven’t had OPI for a while and got used to a different kind of brush and texture. I may slightly prefer Essie brush and on some of my finger nails I struggle with the wide OPI brush. The texture is also runnier that I am used to lately. It’s not that it’s bad but after being used to Essie where I need  like two three strokes and voila! it’ds done..I find I really have to concentrate in order not to paint my cuticles again.

I will try to upload some good pictures tomorrow as you have to see these two beauties on, the bottle and even the cute names do not give them justice.

Douglas Absolute Nails 145

This color was supposed to be my dupe for OPI Siberian nights but it’s not a deep blueberry as the OPI is but rather a deep purple/black with the tiniest purple shimmer, I haven’t tried it yet.